This starts with a big caveat – if you are an established blogger, you will be reading this with the benefit of hindsight and wisdom of having been there done that. However, if you are a relatively new blogger and wondering how you can stop your blog being hacked and how you can avoid general blog carnage, then there are some serious learnings I need to pass on to you from the last couple of months where I have been lurching from one blog disaster to the next. So here are five tips on how to keep your blog safe and in tip top condition!
STOP YOUR BLOG BEING HACKED? ENSURE SECURITY!!!
Ok I know this sounds obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people seriously pass on the computer security, thinking the likelihood of something happening to them is pretty insignificant. BAHAHA how cruel complacency can be! I have been the most complacent amongst them all, turning my nose up at computer security until I realised that one day…SHOCK HORROR my computer AND blog had been hacked. I couldn’t click on ANYTHING without an ad showing up, and I couldn’t get into my back end either. Being hacked and trying to resolve hacking has to be one of the most stressful experiences out as a blogger as you feel completely out of control, and unknowledgeable.
So what do you do when you are hacked? Firstly, if you have not already, download an anti-virus for your mac pronto, run a full scan, find the malware and remove it. But this alone may not do the trick. As recommended to me by the savant Donna at What The Redhead Said who was a great help through the UK Parent Blogger Facebook Group, you should also download Bitedefender Virus Scanner which picks up on any additional malware which might have slipped through the net, and then install an additional ad blocker extension like Fair Ad Block to triple secure your site and ensure you don’t have nasty malware-esque ads infiltrating your system.
Also speak to your web hosting provider as they can help you get back in to your site and rectify things and have a root around and help trouble shoot for you.
STOP DOWNLOADING SO MANY PLUG INS!
If you are self hosted, you can get a little bit plug in happy. Yup, I merrily downloaded plug ins for this, that and the other, not thinking about how much memory they would take up. In particular a couple of very meaty SEO and caching plug ins (yeah, techy I know), basically caused my site so pretty much shut down due to memory issues. Total nightmare. Have a spring clean of your plug ins – deactivate any you are not using, and delete any deactivated ones.
WATCH IT ON THE IMAGES
Unless you are a blog angel and have been resizing your images as you go along like a saint, it is likely that at some stage your blog will likely just scream at you – I can’t take this any more! Images can take up huge amounts of memory when not appropriately resized, as I sadly learnt of late. Thankfully, you do a bulk resize of images using this very handy plug in Short Pixel. Seriously, this got me out of a right old fix, and relatively painlessly.
HANG FIRE ON THE WIDGETS
Ahh the wonderful world of widgets. Yes we love a good old widget in the blog world, but did you know that widgets can really slow down the loading time of your site if they need to access another server to load – common culprits include ad networks, social media sharing, and the like. I recently had a good clean out of my widgets….don’t let your widgets be like a dusty old drinks cabinet!
I am by no means an expert on all this, but the past few weeks of tech anguish have seriously open my mind and my me realise, that your blog is like a garden that needs to be tended to carefully on the techy front…and while content IS king, if your tech is f****ed you’re a nobody.
IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT
As a blogger, there have been so many times when I thought…hmmm I’ll just try that and then wishing I had kept things how they were because through one or two seemingly small changes, I had opened up a total can of worms. One such example is that recently I installed a plug in to rename all of my images for SEO purposes (because I was too lazy to do it manually), and as a result, all my image links on every blog post no longer worked and then I had to get someone on Fivrr to literally go through and manually edit all the image locations. There were around 200 of them. This is a classic example of why we should try to keep things simple as bloggers, and focus on the things we do well i.e. blogging, not trying to be all whizz bang clever when it is most likely to come round and bite us on the ass!
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